The Neosho Newton County Library Board of Trustees (NNCL) hosted a check presentation on Friday, April 20, for the first room naming rights under their $1 million fundraising campaign.

The Neosho Newton County Library Board of Trustees (NNCL) hosted a check presentation on Friday, April 20, for the first room naming rights under their $1 million fundraising campaign.
"We have established some naming rights level giving for various rooms and spaces within the library," said Beth Styron, on the NNCL board. "We are proud to announce today (Friday, April 20), the naming of the Jack and Rita Wood Genealogy and Local History Room."
Jack Wood was a lifelong Newton County resident who taught music in the Fairview and Granby schools and was a one-time Newton County school superintendent, serving in that position until 1967. He subsequently became the librarian of the Neosho Newton County Library, and retired from the position in 2001, after more than three decades of service. Wood and his wife, Rita Jean Swift Wood of Davenport, Iowa, were married in December 1954, and in addition to Neosho Attorney Andrew Wood and his sister, Julia Narrell of Joplin, Jack and Rita had another child, Geoffrey (Jeff), who passed away in 2017. Rita Wood was employed at several banks in the Neosho community. She passed away in January 2014. Her husband predeceased her in February 2004.
"I think that dad would be amazed by the changes that has been made here," said Andy. "(It) started out by consolidating the city and the county library in 1967... My dad, he loved this library, he was the director for 33 years, he loved history, he loved genealogy, and it just made sense that mom and dad's name go on it. We are proud to do it, happy."
NNCL treasurer Chris Yaudas talked about the naming rights for others to contribute.
"There are a variety of naming rights and donor recognition plans, as well as several contribution options, including recurring and multi-year donations, that will fit nearly anyone’s budget,” she said. “Anyone interested in donating can stop by the library and pick up a brochure and pledge card, or they can access the secure online donation portal on the library’s website.”
Retired Crowder College President Dr. Kent Farnsworth, who now serves on the Crowder Foundation board of directors and is a published author, officially kicked off the campaign by becoming the first legacy donor. He and his wife Holly will be honored on the library’s donor wall when it is completed.
“As both an educator and a writer, there is nothing more important than supporting a reading community,” Dr. Farnsworth said. “Beyond our schools, a county library is the major reading source in Newton County and it needs all of our support.”
It was also announced that the library - which has been closed since February while undergoing an expansion - will officially be open on Friday wth a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
The library construction project doubled the library’s space. It includes expanded children’s and teen sections, the secure local history and genealogy section, more computers and outlets for personal laptops with high-speed Wi- Fi, quiet reading and research areas, including small study rooms; wider aisles for easier accessibility; an improved handicap accessible entry and customer service-checkout area; a community meeting room available for public use; an updated materials processing center and staff offices; a safe room for patrons during severe weather; improved restrooms and more parking.
The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.